Gombe State Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya yesterday launched the COVID-19 Action Recovery Stimulus code-named Go-Care with the sum of N8.5 billion. No fewer than 288, 700 people will benefit from the intervention.

Go-Care is the state’s own version of the Federal Government NG-CARE programme aimed at expanding access to livelihood support, food security services and the provision of grants to poor and vulnerable households and firms following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor said the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and livelihood of the people is much.

“The programme has a budgeted sum of N8.5 billion which is targeted at supporting no fewer than 288,700 beneficiaries in the two-year duration of the programme. From this amount, N3.4 billion will be used to support the poor and vulnerable households with grants and basic services.

Another N3.4 billion shall be used to support our farmers with farm inputs in order to increase food production and enhance the performance of the food supply value chain. The sum of N1.7 billion shall be disbursed as grants to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to support their operational activities and help them recover from the huge losses suffered during the pandemic.

“This makes the CARES programme not only timely but essential. The challenges of COVID-19 and the global economic meltdown have certainly made us be more strategic and focused in our development drive,” he said.

According to him, GO-CARE is a major step at putting the vulnerable groups that were worst affected by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth, with the disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries who have met the World Bank’s stipulated eligibility criteria.

He added that these groups and individuals shall receive livelihood grants, social transfers, and soft loans as well as improved access to basic services in order to support economic recovery, boost food production and enhance the livelihood of the people.

“As a government, this intervention perfectly aligns with our human capital development initiative as encapsulated in our 10-year Development Agenda for Gombe State (DEVAGOM).

“As an emergency recovery programme, the initiative will support our governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions specifically designed to expand access to livelihood support, and food security and provide succour for the poor and vulnerable people in our communities whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic,” he said.

He said in order to ensure maximum benefit from the programme, existing state-level delivery platforms with a track record of generating positive human capital development and economic returns for beneficiaries shall be used for the implementation of the interventions.

These platforms, he said, will further be reinforced with a state-level Steering Committee comprising political and technical heads of key sectoral ministries and policy heads of agencies constituted by the government to provide oversight and policy guidance for the programme in order to achieve greater results and the overall programme development objective.

He expressed the belief that those charged with the responsibility of implementing GOMBE–CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that this is a result-oriented programme.

He added that his administration is committed to providing all necessary administrative and operational support to ensure a hitch-free implementation in the state.

Governor Yahaya thanked the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) for supporting the Federal Government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.